Marc Marquez has become the master of the last lap dash in establishing an astonishing domination over his MotoGP rivals.
Three times this season Marquez has been put under massive pressure by three of the world’s fastest and classiest racers – Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. All three have failed to end Marquez’s amazing winning streak after being out-raced on the final, frenetic surge to the checkered flag.
Last lap wins in Qatar, Mugello and Sunday’s race in Barcelona have stamped Marquez as a visionary racer who seemingly has a trick up his sleeve for every situation.
Marquez appears acutely aware of all his options, and appears unfazed by delivering his winning moves on the final lap.
In the breathtaking contest that was the Catalunya Grand Prix, Pedrosa was the latest to fail in a last lap attack on Marquez.
In Qatar it was Rossi’s legendary race craft that was dismantled while in Mugello (Italian GP) it was Lorenzo who feel agonizingly short of ending Marquez’s supremacy.
In rating the tense showdowns of Qatar, Mugello and Catalunya, Marquez rates his heroics at home as a special moment.
“It is difficult to choose the best one (of the three) but this race … was so special because it is my home circuit and it was a race where I struggled more during the weekend,” Marquez said.
“I crashed in qualifying and I lost pole so this win was really special but the race in Qatar with Valentino I enjoyed a lot and it was special because it was straight after my injury.”
Marquez won the opening race of the season just six weeks after breaking his leg in a training crash. In Barcelona, Marquez was racing not only for his seventh straight win of the season for the hearts and minds of his home fans.
Marquez made no apology for an uncompromising final lap game plan knowing that his Repsol Honda teammate Pedrosa had the speed and skill to win.
Pedrosa had been faster on the previous two laps as he stalked Marquez, but ran wide after clipping Marquez’s rear tire while trying a daring overtake in turn 11, just two corners from the checkered flag.
“On the last lap you always try to use tight, defensive lines to win the race,” Marquez said.
“But on that lap I braked and stayed a bit more inside, stopped the bike a bit more, and then I felt the touch (of Pedrosa). It was quite close but on the last lap you know that the second rider will try to overtake you.
“But racing is like this, everybody is pushing on the last lap and it is normal there can be some contact.”
Pedrosa’s late race fumble dropped him to third with Rossi finishing second, just 0.5s behind, to Marquez for the fourth time this season.
In a stunning streak, Marquez has won every race so far this season with his Qatar, Mugello and Barcelona victories the standouts, alongside his triumphs in Austin, Argentina, Jerez and Le Mans.
And, as Rossi observes, planning to beat Marquez is virtually impossible.
“With a few laps to go I could feel the taste of victory and was very confident,” Rossi said.
“But it always looks like Marquez has a small margin just in the last lap so it is difficult. There is no particular strategy, you just have to be ahead of him at the finish line.”
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